Higher Education Quick Takes

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 3:00am

Rick Santorum last week told an audience at the Detroit Economic Club that President Obama "had a war on private education" and that his administration has unfairly attacked private-sector, or for-profit colleges, that do most of the worker training for new jobs, according to a transcript published by The Detroit Free Press. The surging Republican presidential candidate promised that his administration would have a different attitude.

"He believes that private sector schools are somehow evil and they're abusive, and his Education Department has done everything they could to make it harder for them to compete for loans and other things and to stay in business," Santorum said. "Yet they are going to be the principal tool, along with community colleges, to respond to this, what I believe will be exploding demand for skilled and semi-skilled workers to do the jobs of the future."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 3:00am

In today’s Academic Minute, Mario Macis of Johns Hopkins University examines how compensating blood donors could increase the blood supply. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 3:00am

Two more colleges have sued the Obama administration over its requirement that religious employers, including colleges, provide insurance covering birth control -- despite a recent compromise that would require the insurance company, not the institution, to pay for that coverage. Louisiana College, a Baptist institution, and Geneva College, a Pennsylvania college affiliated with the Reformed Presbyterian Church, filed lawsuits Tuesday with assistance from the Alliance Defense Fund. They join two colleges that have filed suit through the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The Alliance Defense Fund says that more lawsuits can be expected.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 3:00am

The University of Michigan Board of Regents voted Tuesday to oppose a bill in the State Senate that would ban graduate research assistants from unionizing, The Detroit Free Press reported. In doing so, the board disregarded the wishes of senior administrators at the university, who believe that the graduate assistants should count as students and should not unionize.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 4:29am

The University of Utah has changed its admissions policy for older applicants -- those who have been out of high school for seven years and who have not previously enrolled in a college -- following a complaint that it violated the rights of one such individual, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The new policy specifies exactly which courses in high school applicants must have completed, earning certain minimum grades. The complaint concerned an applicant who was rejected -- without as clear a system in place -- when he mentioned having only a fourth grade reading level.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 3:00am

Barbara Woodlee announced in the summer of 2010 that she planned to retire as president of Maine's Kennebec Valley Community College, but she's not leaving any time soon. The Kennebec Journal reported that -- after two national searches failed to end with a successor -- Woodlee agreed to stay on.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 4:27am

Villanova University has canceled a week-long workshop by Tim Miller, a gay performance artist whose planned visit had been set up by a professor, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Miller, who has previously appeared at other colleges, including Roman Catholic colleges, said that the university's decision reflected a "coercive, censorious time." The professor who organized the event said that she had been told by the university not to talk about what had happened, and to refer all questions to the press office. The university later issued this statement: "Villanova University embraces intellectual freedom and academic discourse. Indeed, it is at the very heart of our university and our Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition. With regard to the upcoming residency and performance workshops by Tim Miller, we had concerns that his performances were not in keeping with our Catholic and Augustinian values and mission. Therefore, Villanova has decided not to host Mr. Miller on our campus. Villanova University is an open and inclusive community and in no way does this singular decision change that."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 3:00am

Many faculty members at California State University East Bay held a one-day strike in November to protest the stalled state of contract negotiations. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that 41 faculty members took personal time to which they are entitled, and only 4 reported that they simply didn't work (which could have resulted in their pay being docked). Charles Reed, chancellor of the Cal State System, has decided that all faculty members will be paid for the day. In a memo, he said that the number of faculty members who reported being off that day was "inconsistent with campus operations that day," but he said that Cal State lacks the funds to investigate who worked and who didn't. He said it would be unfair to dock the pay only of faculty members who admitted not teaching that day, so all faculty members will be paid.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 3:00am

Rick Santorum, enjoying a surge in support in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, on Monday said in a speech that he is not "anti-science," but that Democrats are, CBS News reported. Santorum has been criticized by many scientists for, among other things, suggesting that there is not a consensus that global climate change is real and is significant. Speaking in Ohio Monday, he said that the science of global warming is "political science," based on "phony studies." He elaborated: "When it comes to the management of the Earth, they are the anti-science ones. We are the ones who stand for science, and technology, and using the resources we have to be able to make sure that we have a quality of life in this country and [that we] maintain a good and stable environment."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 3:00am

Junior faculty members at Israeli universities have announced an open-ended strike, saying that their negotiations with the Committee of University Presidents failed to result in a contract agreement, The Jerusalem Post reported. The presidents' committee responded by saying that the faculty union "has decided to hurt university students without any justification."



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